Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Kenny's Christmas Figgy Pudding

Servings: Makes 8 servings
What is a Figgy Pudding?

Here's the answer from Marion Owen, the Upbeet Gardener, with a little added information from Diana's Desserts:

Figgy pudding is a traditional steamed British pudding. Figs, dried ones (in the recipe below, fresh figs are used) go into figgy pudding. So do nuts, dates, bread crumbs, spices and more. You mix it all up and put it in a pudding mold. You put the pudding mold in a large pan (like a roasting pan or casserole) and fill the pan with hot water to cover the bottom 1/3 of the mold. This "water bath" will help the pudding cook evenly and keep it from scorching. Baking the pudding takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Then presto, change-o: Figgy pudding! Though it's actually more like a cake.

First created in the 1400's, figgy pudding became popular as a Christmas tradition in Victorian England in the mid 1800's; the setting of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Why would you want to eat one today? Well, traditions, edible and otherwise, tend to make people feel good. It’s that comfort food thing. And the figs in figgy pudding hold lots of good fiber and nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium.

I'm told if you like Fig Newtons, Christmas flavors and smells, you'll like figgy pudding.

From Marion Owen, The Upbeet Gardener at: http://garden.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2005/12/9/1443224.html#773327

Notes from Diana's Desserts:
This recipe uses fresh figs, not dried, but if desired you may use 1 pound dried figs. Also this recipe does not include nuts or dates, but you may add them if you wish. Use 1/2 pound dried figs and 1/2 pound dried dates and 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped nuts. If you decide to use dried figs and/or dried dates, coarsely chop them and then soak them in 3/4 cup hot water or warm milk for 10 minutes, then add the mixture (including the water or milk) to the batter. Soaking the dried figs and/or dates will help to soften them. This is a very basic recipe for Figgy Pudding, no exotic ingredients, just good things that most of us have in our pantry and fridge (except for the fresh figs).

Special Note:
My husband Kenny prepared, baked and decorated this Figgy Pudding (hence the name). I took the photos. Since Kenny is from England, I suppose it's only right that HE should make this pudding. It turned out perfect and so good and baking isn't really his thing. (he can grill up the best steaks in the world though). How many husbands would make a "figgy pudding" for you? He's very special!!

And by the way, the figs were given to us by our next door neighbor Linda. I didn't know what I was going to do with so many figs. Kenny said something about "figgy pudding" and started singing "We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, Now bring us some Figgy Pudding, Now bring us some Figgy Pudding", and there was the answer. Thank you Linda.

1 pound (453g) fresh black Mission figs
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 oz./113g) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. orange zest, fresh (or 1 tsp. dried)

Confectioners' sugar
Holly Sprig (real or artificial) optional

Serve with (optional):
Custard sauce (see recipe below) or sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Generously butter a 2-quart (2 litre/8 cup) pudding mold.

In a medium saucepan, warm milk over low heat, add figs, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. (DO NOT LET MIXTURE COME TO A BOIL).

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and melted butter until frothy. Slowly add bread crumbs, and orange zest. Add the milk and fig mixture and using a wire whisk gradually add flour mixture, until just blended.

Spoon pudding batter into prepared pudding mold. Cover and place mold in a large roasting pan or casserole dish. Pour enough hot water into the bottom of the roasting pan or casserole dish to cover the bottom 1/3 of the mold. This "water bath" will help the pudding cook evenly and keep it from scorching. Cook the pudding in preheated oven for 2 to 1/2 hours. You may insert into the center of pudding a wooden skewer or toothpick to check for doneness. If it comes out clean, then the pudding is done. Allow pudding to cool for 15 minutes before inverting and unmolding onto a serving plate. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar or for a very festive look, pour the warm custard sauce over the pudding and place a holly sprig (real or artificial) on top. Serve with custard sauce or sweetened whipped cream.

Makes 8 servings.

Custard Sauce

2 cups milk
1 large egg
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter

In a medium saucepan, scald milk and allow to cool.

Mix together remaining ingredients, except for butter. Add to cooled milk. Cook over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, mixing well.

Serve pudding warm with custard sauce or sweetened whipped cream. Store unused portions in refrigerator.

Photographs taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2006

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: November 9, 2006